Cluster Lead:

This broad-based research and development cluster will integrate science and social needs to address coastal issues and train students in conservation and resource management. It also will transform thinking beyond disciplinary limits and investigate new challenges for the coming century, such as understanding complex local, national and international problems related to anthropogenic and natural changes in coastal systems. The threats and challenges Florida faces are the same that coastal communities around the world face. The solutions, methodologies and technologies developed at UCF will have immediate application to other geographic locations, with the potential to be statewide and national models for how coastal states should address future environmental and economic challenges and growth opportunities.


UCF Colleges Involved in Sustainable Coastal Systems


This cluster aims to:

  • Lead a world-class effort to understand ecosystem health and function with the concomitant ramifications for human health
  • Assess natural and human-related impacts to coastal ecosystem health, restoration, sustainability and mitigation
  • Characterize and integrate physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic processes impacting coastal communities and ecosystems

The long-term objectives of this cluster are to:

  • Provide data and develop decision-support models for planners, policy makers and stakeholders to determine success of implementing coastal management and mitigation actions
  • Train young scientists entering the workforce as science emissaries with interdisciplinary skills that can be applied beyond academia, ultimately resulting in outstanding career performance
  • Develop new programs in research and undergraduate and graduate education to position UCF as the nation’s leading interdisciplinary sustainable coastal systems program


More details about the cluster can be found in the Sustainable Coastal Systems Cluster Proposal.

Why Join the Sustainable Coastal Systems Cluster?

A Unique Ability to Lead

Florida has a strong network of university and private research interests focused on ocean and coastal issues at local and regional scales who represent potential partners for research projects and collaborations. However, despite their expertise, no other group has developed a national brand for academic excellence in truly interdisciplinary, long-term coastal systems research – specifically, no other institution integrates the social sciences, economics, emergency management and planning, and policy development with life sciences, chemistry and engineering. With this cluster, UCF has a plan for reorganizing these disciplines into problem-oriented expertise to develop solutions.

A New Paradigm in Coastal Modeling

With support from the NOAA Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the faculty and students of UCF’s CHAMPS Lab in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, along with their research partners at Louisiana State University, University of South Carolina, Florida State University and the UCF Biology Department built sophisticated computer models that incorporate state-of-the-art descriptions of the sea floor, coastal floodplains, land use and historic weather conditions to simulate changes to the environment, such as shoreline position, vegetation density, population growth and sea level rise.

Economics of Coastal Communities

While coastal counties account for only 10 percent of the land mass in the continental United States, 39 percent of the nation’s total population lives there. And coastal counties generated 45 percent ($7.1 trillion) of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. Given the intense concentration of infrastructure, economic production and population along the coast, there is a growing need for focused research and policy development to maintain integrity and quality of the natural resources that make these areas an essential part of our society.

We’re Looking for the Best.

The Faculty Cluster Initiative is hiring in nine interdisciplinary areas to advance UCF’s areas of excellence and global impact. We’re looking for leaders to help shape collaborative research and teaching across the university.


Sustainable Costal Systems Faculty

The following faculty are involved in developing and guiding the cluster and its efforts.


Cluster Faculty


We’re Hiring

The Faculty Cluster Initiative is hiring in nine interdisciplinary areas to advance UCF’s areas of excellence and global impact. We’re looking for leaders to help shape collaborative research and teaching across the university.